Move shows focus on quality over speed: experts
Several Chinese provinces have admitted to having falsified economic figures, but this shows the positive results of China's policy shift from emphasizing economic growth speed to an inclination toward economic quality, experts told the Global Times on Wednesday.
According to a report from the Xinhua News Agency on January 3, the local government of North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region admitted that it had inflated its fiscal revenue figures via measures such as colluding with companies to create spurious government revenues.
Inner Mongolia previously claimed that its general budget revenue in 2016 reached 53 billion yuan ($8.14 billion), Xinhua reported, adding that the local government also admitted that the industrial added value figures for some of its counties and districts were not precise.
The regional government of Inner Mongolia has already corrected the figures, the Xinhua report said.
Inner Mongolia's false data was not an isolated case. Back in January 2017, Liaoning Governor Chen Qiufa admitted that some local fiscal and economic figures were falsified between 2011 and 2014, People's Daily reported in January 2017.
"Admitting and correcting the mistakes show a positive signal that Chinese local governments are no longer putting speed of economic growth at the top of their priority list," Ye Qing, a deputy director of the statistics bureau of Central China's Hubei Province, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
In the past, some local governments would employ trickery to make the economic figures look good, but now they are focusing on more sustainable economic growth and take such factors as environmental protection into consideration when evaluating economic growth, Ye said.
In Hubei, for example, the local government has seen a drop in industrial capacity and has carried out many environmental protection inspections in recent years, Ye noted.
Liu Xuezhi, a senior expert in macroeconomics at Bank of Communications, also told the Global Times on Wednesday that it's good that China's local governments can face the truth.
"You can temporarily make up impressive economic figures. But that puts even more pressure on the local government to achieve economic growth in later years. It's a vicious circle," he said.
Ye also noted that the central government's tightened management of false statistics has "enhanced deterrence," and this has pushed local governments to be honest about their economic performance.
Liu said that in the future, the trend toward sustainable growth will continue, but he cautioned that medium to high-speed growth still needs to be maintained.